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Dean Jhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03515254534444061855noreply@blogger.comBlogger941125
Updated: 15 min 9 sec ago

Class of 2019 Facebook Group! (for students only)

December 18, 2014
I try to create as many avenues for applicants to chat and ask questions as possible.  This is why I'm available here (I answer questions in the comments on posts) and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and email.

Sometimes, you'll want to chat with each other and ask questions in a student-only space.  You can do that in the Class of 2019 Facebook group.  In the spirit of student self-governance, which is a big deal here at UVa, this is a space just for students



Click the image to go to the group on Facebook!

Obviously, the group will be for students who hope they'll be members of the Class of 2019 at this point.  This is normal.  The membership of the group will evolve when decisions are released and students start committing to colleges.

There are two current students who run the Class of 2019 group. When your class elects officers, they will hand the group over to your chosen leaders. We've been doing this for about five years and it works beautifully. For now, they are happy to answer questions, but they are also happy to sit back and let you chat.  Nothing in these groups will be saved or connected to your applications.

I have absolutely no interest in tracking you or looking at your profiles.  My interest is in making sure you know about a group that will become your class's "go to" space to chat, where content won't include advertisements, and your information won't be mined (my worry with groups that are tied to a company).

I am not in the Class of 2019 Facebook group, so if you have application questions and want to ask them on Facebook, you can use Office of Admission page.

Parents, if you are looking to check in with parents of UVa students, check out the UVa Parents page.


How do you feel about admission folks being on Facebook?  Do you like the avenues we've set up for you?  What do you think we should do in the future?

How to Withdraw an Application to UVa

December 16, 2014
It's the time of year that some schools with Early Decision processes are releasing their decisions. As you should know by now, Early Decision is the binding kind of early application (as opposed to Early Action, which we use here at UVa). If you were admitted to a school through Early Decision, you need to withdraw your UVa application.

Our front desk gets inundated with calls about this and individual deans get lots of emails as well. The calls and emails are often from third parties.


We don't want act on your file based on a phone call from someone whose identity we can't confirm. We need to hear from you.

If you need to withdraw your application, email uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu from the email account you used on your Common App and include your name, date of birth, and high school with your request. 



Missing Credentials for Early Action Applications

December 8, 2014
CavDog wants something.
I've been telling you all to relax about your status pages until we get all the mailed credentials checked in. Well, it looks like we are pretty much caught up. We have now sent emails to anyone missing a required document. Please check the email you used with the Common App for an email from us!

If you get an email about a missing credential, don't panic. The item could have taken a wrong turn along en route to us. You aren't in trouble. These things happen. Please contact the appropriate folks to get that missing item sent to us as soon as possible. If you are missing testing, you 'll unfortunately have to pay the fee to rush your scores. Teachers and counselors can send their items through the Common App website or email.

Mid-year reports are a "to do" item for everyone, regardless of when an application was submitted. EA decisions come out before most schools send mid-year reports, but if you get an offer or are deferred to the Regular Decision round, we expect your counselor to send those mid-years along. We want you to be aware of this now as opposed to having that pop up late in the game. Some students are apt to stop checking their status once the to do list disappears.


The Lighting of the Lawn 2014

December 6, 2014
We're in the thick of the Early Action review and at the same time, our students are moving into their exam period. For a little over a decade, we've take a break from the papers and exams to come together for the Lighting of the Lawn.

The Lighting of the Lawn started in 2001 as a way to bring our community together at the end of a very tough semester that had only just begun when the 9/11 attacks happened. Each Lighting of the Lawn had included performances by a capella groups, the reading of a poem that recaps major events of the year, the singing of The Good Old Song with the Cavalier Marching Band, and then the main event - the lighting of the buildings along the Lawn.

The Rotunda is in the middle of a massive, two-year restoration process. Many assumed the lighting would be on the opposite end of the Lawn, but the committee surprised us all!

By the way, there's an incredible group of students that works with many offices to make this happen. The committee also raises money for a charity at each year's event. Camp Holiday Trails was the designated charity for this year's LOTL.

Without further ado...the 2014 Lighting of the Lawn.

 
We'll be raising our hands, shining up to the sky
'Cause we got the fire, fire, fire




In case you're interested, here is video of the 2013 LOTL from the UVA Drama Light Shop and another that gives a look at what it's like inside the crowd.

Important Reminders about Status Pages

November 28, 2014
We are one month into the Early Action application review process and that tends to be when people start getting nervous about their status pages. Here are a few of the most common questions and concerns with my notes about each.

1. My status is incomplete, but the only document missing is the mid-year report.
If you are admitted or deferred, you'll be required to submit your mid-year report. So that no one sees "complete" and never looks at their account again, the system keeps showing the incomplete status showing. If the mid-year report is the only thing on your "to-do" list, you are done for now and we are ready to work with your file.


2. I sent new test scores, but how do I know you have them?
Our system doesn't have date tags on your status page. Do verify that your test scores from a recent date were sent, you need to check with the SAT or ACT folks. They've been transferring scores electronically for years without major issues.


3. I see a "View Decision" link, but there's no decision when I click!
We are only one month into the review. With about 15,000 applications, this process is going to take a while. We won't have decisions finalized until January. We have always said that notification will be made by the end of January, but we'll notify early if we can. The "view decision" box shows up when your file moves into the reading pipeline. It doesn't mean we've reached a decision on your application yet.

In the paper days, there would be a 1-2 week lag between finalizing decisions and mailing letters (it takes quite some time to print all those letters, label envelopes, stuff envelopes, double check that the right letter is in the right envelope, and then send the letters to the mail room. These days, when we're done, we release!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We'll be back in the office on Monday if you need us.

Go Hoos!
CavDog guarding last year's turkey.

What are your "non-negotiables?"

November 14, 2014
The team that answers emails that arrive in our general email accounts shared a cute email with me yesterday. In case you didn't know, undergradadmission@virginia.edu is for general inquiries and uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu is for application questions and updates.


First of all, I want to address the mention of another school in that comment. It isn't a secret that most of you are applying to several schools. When I see another school mentioned in a message meant for UVa, it doesn't bother me at all.

Second, this brings up a larger point that I try to make to students who will be making a college decision in the near future. It's totally valid to have non-academic factors included in your college search. I tell students to go on their tours with 3-5 "non-negotiable" characteristics, beyond the academic ones, that they need a college to have. Maybe you love the atmosphere at a certain kind of sporting event or you want the opportunity to hike or fish near school. Maybe you are afraid of certain animals and don't want encounter them regularly on your way to class. I think that you are more apt to be engaged in the classroom when you feel comfortable and happy overall.

By the way, I haven't seen stray cats on the UVa Grounds. I wonder why...


#UVaPhotoContest

November 7, 2014
In case you aren't following me (@UVaDeanJ) or UVa (@theUniversityofVirginia) on Instagram, I thought I'd let you know about the UVa Photo Contest. Over 1,000 people have posted images taken around the UVa Grounds and given them the #UVaPhotoContest tag.

Entries will be judged by Alexis Ohanian ’05, the co-founder of Reddit. The U.Va. Magazine did a great profile of him. I'll be judging a few of the specialty catagories. The prizes are gift cards for the UVa Bookstore and UVa swag.

If you aren't entering, follow along!


Last year's winning photo

Five Post-Deadline Notes for Early Action Applicants

November 4, 2014
We are going to be processing documents that have come in for Early Action applications for a while, but I thought I'd go over a few things to keep in mind as we work on your files.

1. Applications are transferred from the Common App to our system once per day. Approximately five days after your file arrives in our system, you will receive an email from us with login credentials for our Student Information System (SIS).

2. When you log into the SIS for the first time, your status probably won't be current. Please don't worry about your status in SIS right now! Our staff is linking thousands of documents to applications right now. This can take some time. I'll let you know when we are done processing. Do not send duplicates of any item unless we contact you with a request.

3. We will email you from undergradadmission@virginia.edu or uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu about your application. It is extremely important that you read your email.

4. Once the mid-year report is the only thing left on your "to do" list, your file is ready for us to read! When your file moves into read to read status, you'll probably see a "View Decision" box appear at the bottom of the SIS Student Center. People always think this means we are already done reviewing their application. That box is built into SIS and we can't change it. I'm sorry to report that it doesn't mean your decision is finalized. That won't happen until January.

5. We are now moving into reading mode. Our staff is relatively small and our reading loads are large. As always, we will take turns serving "on call" duty, so if you have questions about your file or the process, you can call the main office number or email uvaapplicationinfo@virginia.edu with them.

Deadline Day Motivation

November 1, 2014
Some of you will be putting finishing touches on Early Action applications today and I thought I'd share a little inspiration. This is one of our Student Ambasadors, Sierra, checking her application status on her decision day.
I know this process can cause a lot of anxiety and uncertainty at times, but there will be cause to celebrate on the other side when some of the schools on your list make you offers of admission.

Hang in there and good luck!

Sending Resumes to UVa

October 31, 2014
I wrote a post with important notes for Early Action applicants this morning, but the amount of emails my colleagues and I got today that included resumes prompted me to write a second post.


With an applicant pool that is fairly large, the Common App is a wonderful thing. The formatting allows us to zero in on a student's information quickly. I think most people understand that this is why many schools like to use the Common App. It's Common.

The Common App lets colleges make some decisions about the questions/features they use. One of them is a resume upload function. The resume upload feature is turned OFF for UVa. I know that some really, really want us to see a resume or another activity chart, but please respect our process and use the Common App.

When you use the Common App's activity section to enter your information, a chart is created on my side of the application. I know exactly where to find all the pertinent information on that chart. Here's an early draft of what the activity section looks like. There have been a few changes, but you can get the idea...

An early draft of the activity page on the Common App

We really like how activities are organized in the Common App. We know where to look for the facts and we don't spend time sifting through extra information to get to the good stuff. Resumes tend to restate a lot of information that is presented elsewhere in the application.

Students have taken to emailing resumes because we don't offer the upload function. I got one the other day that was four pages long and the first two pages listed details about the same activity. It was as if the student whose activity sheet is above listed statistics about every game in which he had played. The detail provided (three years on varsity, elected caption) helps me understand the involvement far better than knowing a batting average does.

Keep it simple. Remember that schools ask for the things they need and they usually tell you the format they prefer. Use the activity section of the Common App. Do not email us a resume.

Five Common Concerns of Early Action Applicants

October 31, 2014

Early Action applicants, you have one more day to submit your applications! I thought I'd write one post to cover some of the most common worries that students have around deadline time.

1. The Early Action deadline for UVa is midnight on November 1st. That doesn't mean those of you who thought it was midnight tonight now have permission to procrastinate. Avoid submitting at the last minute since there are thousands of students applying to schools with November 1st deadlines who will also be submitting tomorrow. Give yourself a nice buffer just in case something goes wrong and you need some help from the Common App folks.


2.  Double check the type of application you are submitting.Every year, one or two students submit applications and forget that they designated them as Regular Decision. If you did that, we probably won't even touch your file for a couple months. Double check that you indicated that you are a first-year applicant submitting an Early Action application for the Fall 2015 term.


3. Contact Common App if you have trouble submitting. There is a help button on every single screen within the Common App's website. The admission officers at your schools aren't able to help with Common App issues. What's more, if there's a problem, the Common App team needs to know about it in case it is systemic.


4. Your UVa status page won't be current yet.We have two processes happening simultaneously right now: the January transfer process (their deadline was October 1) and the Early Action process. Our staff is processing documents as quickly as possible, but it will take a couple weeks for everything that has arrived to be checked in. If we are missing something from you after all the documents have been processed, we will be in touch! Just focus on getting your application submitted. Don't panic about your status page just yet. Please don't call or email admission officers to check on documents. We will be immersed in file review and can't sift through mail bins or stacks of documents that are being scanned.


5. Your application won't be "downloaded" on deadline day.Every year, we get frantic emails from students who submit before the deadline, but don't see their application as downloaded by their schools. Applications tend to be downloaded once per day and the download date is almost never the same as the date you submitted. No need to worry about that!



Here are a few blog posts that address some other things that might be on your mind. I'll be updating the posts from last year with some new thoughts in the coming weeks.
-All of the 2014-2015 first-year essay questions together
-Essay word length
-Essay formatting
-How we use demonstrated interest
-Sending Resumes to UVa
-About extracurricular activities

As a reminder, you do not need to rush your SAT scores to us at this time. As long as you get your request in to ETS before the deadline, we should be good.

Good luck, seniors!

To Rush or Not to Rush?

October 29, 2014
That title is a little wink to those who have already made it to the second essay question on the UVa part of the Common App. Let's get to the issue at hand.

In the last 24 hours, we have been inundated with emails and calls about sending SAT scores.

CavDog finds testing talk overwhelming
If you didn't send your scores already and you are applying under Early Action, send your scores ASAP using the standard delivery option. At this point, it is not worth $30 to rush your scores. We have enough files to read to keep us occupied until ETS can get those scores to us.

You do not have to rush October scores at this point. 
There will be a point when we will need you to rush your scores, but we will let you know when that time comes. 

Remember that our system is designed to only pull the best scores from each section of the tests for us to review. We don't see every section when we read your file, we just see the best scores across all administrations of the exams.

If you are one of the students from East Asia who got the "your scores aren't available" message when you logged into your ETS account yesterday, please know that we are aware of the situation (though we don't have any more information than you). We will review your scores whenever they arrive. You can still apply under Early Action.    



What Does Holistic Admission Mean?

October 28, 2014
Today is the day that the ETS folks delivered scores to those who took the SAT earlier this month. This day always unleashes a flurry of worried emails and comments from those who aren't happy with their scores. Then come the questions about how we "weigh" different components of the application.

I despise the word "weigh" almost as much as the word "quota" for two reasons. Maybe it's because they both imply that admission decisions are just based on a rubric. Plug in some numbers and *boom* the decision is made. In a way, it also ignores the fact that my colleagues and I spend five months of the year cloistered away, dedicating most of our waking moments to file review. Students don't want to be reduced to numbers and admission officers don't want the process reduced to them, either. The review is holistic.

Unfortunately, I've seen "holistic admission" twisted to the point that people start to think that volunteer work or being on the soccer team is on par with their academic work.The best way to effectively communicate what holistic admission looks like to me is to compare your application to a puzzle. In a holistic review, you look at all pieces of the applicant's puzzle together before you make your decision.


The largest, most central piece of your puzzle is your transcript. This shouldn't be a surprise since your transcript represents four years of academic development. I took a really bad jpeg of a puzzle and used my awesome skills to demonstrate this idea:

Aren't you impressed?
The other components of your file fall in around the four years of academic work you've been doing. I'm sure you can imagine the bigger pieces: recommendation letters bring the academic data to life and essays are where we get to hear your voice.
You get the picture. I don't have to keep coloring, right?
As we read, the puzzle comes together. All of the pieces are important, but they vary in size. The testing piece is a four-hour piece of your puzzle. It's obviously important because it contributes to the overall picture, but it is one component among many and there are other parts of the puzzle that are larger and take considerably longer to evaluate.

When you fixate on one of the smaller pieces it's as if you are trying to make a decision about taking a puzzle home with you based on seeing one corner of it. You wouldn't do that, right? The people who make puzzles put the complete picture on the box so you can make an informed decision about purchasing it.



If you are looking at test scores this evening, I hope you'll put things in perspective. Yes, testing is important. However, it doesn't overshadow or knock other parts of your file out of the way.